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Senseless crime should be wake-up call

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Everybody over there (get on up), everybody right there (get into it), everybody over there (get involved).

— James Brown

Sadly, the people of this community have become desensitized to the rampant crime that, despite trumpeted statistics that suggest otherwise, is not declining.

People in Albany and Dougherty County see the latest 60-point, attention-grabbing headline, read the daily police logs and weekly jail reports, or watch the blue-light-tinted nightly TV newscasts and they react with an indifference that is almost as frightening as the growing crime rate.

“Let’s see who tonight’s victims are,” residents say with a resignation that speaks volumes: Same old story, different names.

But every now and then a crime is committed that is so disturbing, so frighteningly random, that even the jaded citizens of the so-called Good Life City can’t help but take notice. And so it was Monday, when Lance Larson was attacked for no reason and stabbed while walking along 12th Avenue.

Larson, who is mildly autistic, is a fixture in Albany, almost as much a part of the landscape as Riverfront Park, the East Albany sand dunes or the Flint River. It’s a rare member of the community who hasn’t seen Larson walking along one of the local thoroughfares, his brisk pace and intense concentration indicative of someone who has places to be and things to do.

Members of the local Bo Henry Band “adopted” Larson, signing him on as tambourine player, and Larson is a fixture at Henry’s Harvest Moon restaurant on Dawson Road. Above all else, it’s Larson’s sweet nature that stands out among those who know him.

That’s why the unprovoked attack Monday has so outraged the community. Henry has put up his own money as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who stabbed Larson, and more than a few local citizens have discovered an antidote for their “another-day, another-crime” malaise. In the wake of the random attack, many are calling for an increased effort by local law enforcement to deal more harshly with the entrenched criminal element in the community.

As much as we hate to admit it, crime has always been “someone else’s problem.” It’s another story in the newspaper, another sound bite on TV until it hits close to home.

We have a tendency to stand on the sidelines and condemn our law enforcement agencies as they deal with a crime that has happened to someone else, but we cling to them and demand their undivided respect and attention when we or someone we love is the victim.

Larson told Herald police reporter Pete Skiba, “It is time for us to take back this town from thugs and make it safe,” after he was treated for stab wounds to his neck, back and arm. That sentiment — and other responses less calm and more unprintable — has pervaded as news of the attack spread.

But an innocent man like Larson should not have to be injured for us to show interest in the community’s crime rate. And a 14-year-old kid like James Anderson shouldn’t have to be shot and killed for us to demand that officials more aggressively pursue the criminal element whose roots are embedded in the soil as deeply as some of the towering pines that define the region.

It’s easy enough to trumpet the perceived incompetence of law enforcement in a community where crime is an epidemic. It’s a lot tougher to actively do something: to join a neighborhood watch group, to call police and report suspicious activity, to petition leaders for better pay and equipment for the men and women in blue.

No one wants to get involved. But then Lance Larson didn’t want to get involved with the low-life who stabbed him Monday. Sometimes you just have no choice.

Email Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

KaosinAlbany 3 years ago

I am from the 12th Ave. neighborhood and we don't normally have this kind of crime in my neighborhood until last Monday. I feel who ever did this to Lance is not a resident of my neighborhood and the people that live in the neighborhood are NOT going to let this escalate any further. I am taking a stand and I am going to fight back against any crime that occurs in the neighborhood. I hope others will join me in my efforts. It is past time to take a stand and let the criminal element know that we as citizens are sick and tired of running and we are NOT going to run any more.

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myside 3 years ago

Brave words do not lead to a solution of anything. Please let your actions back up your words. First thing is to open your eyes and realize that crime does exist in your neighborhood, and it did not start last Monday.

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myside 3 years ago

It is a fact that as the USA becomes another third world country we must act like one. We were once a great nation but now we are a weak and dependent country, thanks to the political correctness we are fed and meekly accept. There will be no reversal of this trend until, and unless, we put the needs of our people and country on a higher level.
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myside 3 years ago

When you use the phrase, "We are NOT going to run any more", you might want to check your rear view mirror to see if you are alone.

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waltspecht 3 years ago

Funny, there are neighborhoods around here where this happens, and there are neighborhoods where it isn't supposed to happen. Me, I believe it is the luck of the draw, or the choice of God whether you run into a real nut or not. So I stick with the Boy Scout saying, "Be Prepared". If you are elderly, you don't stand much of a chance in a physical confrontation. The randomness of the act makes one wonder if they will be next. Remember, to protect the Tribe, you kill the Bear, knowing full well he will kill you. So whatever makes you the equal of a younger, faster and stronger advesary must be employed. Plus, have your Lawyer on speed dial. For as sure as you send the vermin to whatever Hell they are destined for, you will get sued. Thats when you will find out they were a Chiorboy, and an Angle in the eyes of those that previously had a restraining order against them.

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KaosinAlbany 3 years ago

Myside, you sound very hateful with your words. I do have people that will help me and I am probably more involved in my community than you are at the moment. The attack on Lance was not when I started getting involved. I have been involved in my community for a few years now. You do not know me or what I am doing to better my neighborhood and our community. You probably ran to Lee Co. like the rest of the people running scared out of Albany. I chose to stay here and live so I will fight for my community. What have you done to help better Albany lately?

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billslugg 3 years ago

Hand wringing might make us feel better but the our media resources might be better utilized by publishing a description of the perpetrator.

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